September 20, 2018

Thomas Christ

Candidate for Macomb Township Treasurer

Republican

Campaign IssuesRCNMC ReviewParty IssuesState/County/Local Issues

Campaign Issues

Why are you running for this office?
 I am running for office for a number of reasons.  First and foremost it is my personal belief that I am the most qualified and experienced individual with the desire to hold the office of Treasurer that has entered the race.  My business career has provided me with the background that is required to successfully perform the duties as the Township Treasurer and one of seven members of the Board of Trustees.  This is not a recently gained belief.  When our last elected Treasurer announced her retirement, and the Board decided to an interview/appointment process rather than an election by the voters, I was one of over 20 candidates to apply and participate in the “3 minute interview” conducted by a partial Board.   Although I felt that the position should have been filled by a special called election, the selection process was determined by the Township Board, and I chose to participate in it.  With the appointment of Ms. Malburg’s daughter, I became even more convinced that our process of fair elections is the best method in all cases, and the only one that should be used.  If elected, I will seek to have all vacancies of elected officials filled by the voters and not by a process that could be questioned or compromised.Second, is my strong belief that our political party based system requires an open and engaging primary to elect the party’s preferred candidate.  This system, when combined with the ability for an “independent” to be placed on the ballot with a showing of elector support, maintains our system of duly elected officials.  The result is thereby avoiding any ability to question the results of the election.Third, is my concern for the current style and management practices of the Township Board.  A style that is fully supported by the current Treasurer as indicated by her consistent silence during the Board meetings and her supporting votes to all decisions by the Board of Trustees.  While it may be thought by some to be an unfair assumption, I can only surmise that the current Treasurer either does not understand the depth of issues being presented, or has tacitly agreed to cast her vote as lead by others on the Board, either explanation being justification to replace her through the election process.The lack of open debate during the Board meetings and the discouragement towards residents to address issues, leads to an extremely vertical decision making process. I believe this process should be one that brings seven qualified and elected officials together, each with their own skill set and experiences, to provide the Township with the best possible end result.Lastly, as a Macomb Township resident for over 28 years, I am concerned with the lack of private world business management experience of the Township Board.  As a result, I believe that the Board lacks the desire for long term overall strategic planning for Township growth and for improvement of residential services.
What skillsets and real life experience do you have that makes you the best candidate for the role?
A review of my business background, and a general knowledge of the duties of a township treasurer confirmed for me that I would be the preferred candidate.  My broad business experiences, which include employee management, financial performance oversight, customer service, land development, litigation management, industrial relations, sales strategy and management, and government relations have prepared me to serve both the township and its residents over the next four years.
What are the top three issues you are concerned with for your district/municipality?
  1. Increasing resident participation in Township governance
  2. Improve Annual Budget Process to more accurately predict Revenue and Expenses
  3. The need to improve strategic planning and action for Township Initiatives
What are the solutions you will bring forward if elected?
  1. An active citizen base will improve the quality of government for Macomb Township.  A number of changes to current procedure should be enacted which include, but are not limited to the following:
    1. A change of the procedure at the Bi-Monthly Township Board of Trustee Meetings that allow residents to address Agenda Items as they are called for discussion by the Board rather than as Item 6 following the Agenda opening.
    2. Posting of all Information Packets provided to the Board as “PDF” files by links provided in the electronic Agenda that is currently posted on the Friday prior to the scheduled meeting.  (exception would be made for information provided for the confidential executive session items)
    3. Creation of a listing of positions and application process for all Township Board and Commissions that would utilize a form of some sort by which the resident indicates their willingness/desire to serve on one of the 7 Boards or Commissions, providing their qualifications, experience and reason but specifically instructing resident to not indicate political party preference.   This “form” would remain active for a set period of time, 12-24 months, with notice given to the resident when their notice has expired, inviting them to resubmit if they remain interested.
  2. An honest and supportable budget process is necessary for the proper governance of any entity with the need to balance revenues and expenses.  The Macomb Township Board of Trustees does not appear to accept that basic principle.  My concern is that as the Township enjoys a “rainy day fund” in excess of $25,000,000 developing and adhering to a fact based annual budget is a low priority issue.   A review of the past three budgets adopted by the Board for the category “General Fund”  indicates the following:Period                          Revenue       Expenses     (Over/Short)
    2009-2010 Budget         $9,294,342   $9,777,190   ($482,848)
    June 30, 2010 Financial  $8,780,773   $7,128,439    $1,652,3342010-2011 Budget         $8,863,328   $10,659,198  ($1,795,872)
    June 30, 2011 Financial  $11,059,716  $8,423,190   $2,636,5262011-2012 Budget         $8,726,893   $10,257,577  ($1,530,684)
    June 30 2012 Financial not prepared2012-2013 Budget V-3   $11,325,15   $11,872,150  ($547,000)

    A Budget process that accepts or supports such inconsistent planning has a negative effect across the spectrum of those that review, accept and operate under the budget that was provided to them. As a result, residents become jaded to annual predictions of shortages and department managers and supervisors will tend to ignore their mandated spending limits. The Board, by its actions, gives itself the ability to spin this as a positive and to state to all “don’t worry about budget shortages” as it is the “tendency of the Township to be pessimistic” when developing its annual budget.

    If I am fortunate enough to be elected, for the next budget cycle in 2013-2014, I will insist on the most accurate and realistic budget possible being presented to the residents and then insist all Township managers and supervisors live under it for the new budget year.  I will also seek advice on the wisdom and benefits of a longer budget cycle, either 2 or 3 years to allow for longer term strategic planning on capital investments for the Township and operations in general.

  3. Long and Short Term Strategic Planning for an organization can be simply defined as the determination of one’s goals, by desired completion date, and the development and adherence to a strategy that will reach the desired goal at the preferred time.It is my view that Macomb Township lacks this core discipline in its Township Board and most likely its department managers and supervisors.   Strategic Planning will become a key element in the Township Budget process upon my election to the position of Treasurer.  It is the determination of what we want to accomplish over a 1, 3, 5 year period and beyond, setting the plans for the interim steps, and amending the plans at points in time where changes are found to be necessary that will allow the Township to reach it maximum potential while providing for its resident.It will be my position to demand that the “end game” be declared for all issues prior to obtaining my support and I believe that I will be able to convince my colleagues on the Board to adopt this mantra as their own, thereby accomplishing my goal of Strategic Planning being at the root of all decisions.
What specific measures will you take to maintain low taxes and less expensive, limited government?
For a community to maintain low taxes,  it must accomplish two goals, increase its tax base by increasing the number of both residential and commercial/industrial residents and, maintain controls over spending and never allowing a budget to included planned deficit spending, nor accept from those charged with community management any cost over-runs, or spending in excess of the annual budget.By adhering to those two principles, a community should realize less expensive, limited government.With specificity to Macomb Township, a couple of items must be addressed.  1st, under no conditions or circumstances should the Macomb Township Board of Trustees accept transfer of the 41A District Court from Shelby Township to Macomb Township.  The concept can have only 2 possible goals,  either a) a belief that the court will operate at a profit for Macomb Township (it has not in recent years in Shelby), or b) a belief that a new “courthouse” will act as a catalyst for the Broughton Road development concept.I reject the concept of the Court being a profit center, as simply put, to have opportunity for “profit” requires the necessary risk of “loss”, and that is not acceptable. In addition, I do not believe any governmental entity should attempt to develop any projects with the hopes of profit, a concept that is not what governments are for, and contrary to the concept of smaller and limited government.
If elected, what will you do to better promote transparency in government?
Transparency begins with a firm commitment to the core principal that the residents and taxpayers have a “right” to see how their local government is working.  We must encourage participation at the bi-monthly Township Board meetings by implementing the following changes:

  1. Changing the Agenda structure to allow “comments” as each Item is called for discussion.
  2. Not allowing any item to be voted on by the Board unless it appeared on the published Agenda
  3. Expanding the description of Agenda Items to allow for a complete understanding of the issue being presented to the Board.
  4. Maintaining the concept of the “Open Meetings Act” by meeting the “Spirit of the Act” and not allow discussions to consider Agenda items even if the discussion meets the “Letter of the Act”
  5. Development of a system that notifies residents of future commission and board openings, and creation of a process by which interested qualified residents would submit their application of interest well in advance of an actual opening and then appointing the most qualified person when an opening does exist.
Have you received any endorsements?  If so, please list.
None, I am of the belief that “endorsements” are part of the process of maintaining a special interest group mentality.  There are only two endorsements that I would seek.  The first would be the joint endorsement of the RCNMC/Macomb Republican Party/Michigan Republican Party, but as this a “Primary”, asking or receiving these endorsements at this time would be inappropriate.  The second is the endorsement of the voters of Macomb Township (the only special interest group I intend to serve) and that endorsement will be made on August 7th.

RCNMC Review

Thomas Christ is an active member of the RCNMC.

Party Issues

Why are you a running as a Republican?
Because I am a Republican.  I have been a Republican Precinct Delegate since my retirement in 2007 allowed me to become involved in partisan politics and deeply believe in the values presented by the party.
What prior involvement have you had in the Republican Party or Conservative organizations?
I have been a Precinct Delegate since November 2008 and have been elected as a Macomb County Delegate to the State Convention twice (2010 and 2012).  I do not belong to any other organizations.
What is your position on Obamacare?
I believe that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed by Congress.  While parts of the Act are popular, the method used to enact the ACA and its effects on our country’s economy warrants repeal.  I am in favor of the overall concept of “Repeal and Replace”, but, I would need to see the details presented prior to endorsement, overall, I am also firm in my belief that health care should be a “state” issue, further limiting the powers of the Federal Government and any improvements from the federal level should be limited to federal funding, but implementation left to the individual states for development. Limited exceptions to this policy would include tort reform, interstate sale of insurance and federal oversight of insurance companies.
What is your position on abortion?
I am pro life, with the belief that life begins at conception and taking of innocent life is never acceptable.
What is your position on the 2nd Amendment?
The right to own and bear arms must never be compromised in any form, fashion or method.
What is your position on public sector unions?
I believe that President Roosevelt, in his August 16, 1937 Letter #112 said it best, and his words (quoted in part) remain applicable today:“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.”Unfortunately, subsequent to his position, federal and state laws allowed for the formation and recognition of public sector unions and we must deal with them today.  It must be recognized that for whatever demands a public sector union makes at the bargaining table, it is our elected officials that grant the request.  Responsible management of unionized employee costs will only come about by election of responsible officials that always maintain the obligation to their community to be fiscally responsible in all agreements while treating the community’s employees fairly.  I would like to see the playing field leveled by requiring that all negotiations are conducted in public thereby allowing the public (voters) to fully understand what demands are made, and who among their elected officials agree to what at the bargaining table.I must add, it is not only organized employees and their unions that have created the problem.  In many instances and at all levels of government, the elected officials, their appointees and managers reward themselves with greater levels of pay and benefits that public sector unions would never demand or expect.

State/County/Local Issues

What are the two biggest issues you feel Macomb County is facing today?
I think that first and foremost Macomb County must find a way to deal with the continual loss of its overall property tax base.  The annual depreciation in property values, both residential and commercial/industrial will not be resolved for a number of years.  This has cause many communities to rely on deficit spending to balance their annual budgets.  Cost reductions must be found at all levels while maintaining the needed public safety programs that a community must provide.Second is the issue of employment.  While government at any level cannot “create jobs” it does have the capability to create an environment that will attract employers to its borders.  Macomb County and its communities must work in unison to create such an environment.
Do you think Macomb County should have casinos?
No I do not.  I disagree with the concept as it will be a pyrrhic victory in terms of positive revenue generation, and community improvement.
What is your position on the Ambassador bridge project?
I agree with and am in favor of the “Let the People Decide” ballot proposal.
What is your position on special millages like the DIA or Zoo millages?
I disagree with both due to the current ownership structure of both of these specific institutions.  I could support a millage under certain conditions, specifically an ownership structure in which ownership and control of the recipient of the millage is vested with the communities whose residents are responsible for payment of the designated tax.

Thomas Christ

Residence: Macomb Township
Marital Status: Married
Current Occupation: Business Consultant
Contact Email: tchri@hotmail.com
Contact Phone: 586 764 5303
Contact Address: 46612 River park E,  Macomb,  MI  48044
Website: www.electthomaschrist.com
Social Media Links: Facebook

 

Video Links

Web Links